Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent. Historically, Fat Tuesday was a day to prepare for Lent, i.e. making sure food was stored properly and taking part in confession. It slowly evolved to be a day of gluttony, where people indulged in meats, eggs, cheese, butter, and other animal fats, all of which Christians abstained from during Lent.
Mardi translates to Tuesday and Gras translates to fat. Fat Tuesday became known as Pancake Day in Great Britain because people would use up all the dairy and eggs to make pastries or pancakes. In the United States, people usually eat a lot of festive foods and drink plenty of alcohol, especially in New Orleans.
Fun Fact: The first Fat Tuesday actually took place in present day Mobile, Alabama, not in New Orleans. French settlers made their way to New Orleans, but these rowdy Fat Tuesday celebrations stopped after the Spanish took control. The bans were lifted after Louisiana became a U.S. state in 1812.
Many people in the south associate Mardi Gras with a pot of simmering greens, the signature scent of Crawfish Etouffé, and corn bread cooking in a cast iron pan. The cooking of Cajun food and is faithfully observed around the time of Fat Tuesday, but Cajun food doesn’t have to revolve around sausage, oysters, crabs, or shrimp. Cajun food more about the flavors, spices, and the essence of spirit than the actual food itself. Heat is a primary element, but don’t add more cayenne than you can handle. To help you get in the celebratory spirit, we want to give you some tasty recipes to make your Fat Tuesday not so fat.
Mardi Gras Smoothie:
- 3 cups banana chunks, frozen
- 2 cups fresh pineapple, cubed
- ½ cup spinach
- ½ cup raspberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- Add 1 cup of banana chunks and 1 cup of pineapple to a blender with a tablespoon or so of water. Blend until smooth. Pour this into three small glasses.
- Rinse the blender and add 1 cup of banana chunks, 1 cup of pineapple, and the spinach with 2 tablespoons of water. Blend until smooth and pour into the three glasses on top of the banana/pineapple mixture.
- Rinse the blender and add the last cup of banana chunks, in addition to raspberries and blueberries with a tablespoon or so of water. Blend until smooth and then pour in the three glasses on top of the spinach mixture. You should have three tri-colored Mardi Gras smoothies!
Vegan Banana Beignets:
- 3 very ripe bananas
- ¼ tsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract
- 1/16 tsp. almond extract
- 1/3 cup raw brown sugar
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- ½ cup chickpea flour
- ¾ tsp. baking powder
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- ¼ – ½ cup organic, unsweetened almond milk
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Organic vegan powdered sugar, for garnish
- In a large mixing bowl, smash the bananas and mix in the almond & vanilla extracts. Stir in the sugar and set aside.
- Mix the flours, baking powder, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
- Combine the two mixtures in one bowl and mix well. Stir in the almond milk until you get a creamy batter.
- Warm 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a pan. Oil should be 350 degrees before frying the beignets.
- Drop heaping amounts of batter into the hot oil and cook until golden brown on both sides. Once they are browned, remove from the oil and set on a cooling rack or paper towels. Repeat until you’ve fried all of them.
- Dust with powdered sugar (optional) to serve.
We had to give you a savory recipe to enjoy Fat Tuesday. We love this recipe because it is easy to make and packs some heat! Try it out and let us know how you like it.
Click here to make the recipe.